• 2 days U.S. On Track To Unseat Saudi Arabia As No.2 Oil Producer In the World
  • 3 days Senior Interior Dept. Official Says Florida Still On Trump’s Draft Drilling Plan
  • 3 days Schlumberger Optimistic In 2018 For Oilfield Services Businesses
  • 3 days Only 1/3 Of Oil Patch Jobs To Return To Canada After Downturn Ends
  • 3 days Statoil, YPF Finalize Joint Vaca Muerta Development Deal
  • 3 days TransCanada Boasts Long-Term Commitments For Keystone XL
  • 3 days Nigeria Files Suit Against JP Morgan Over Oil Field Sale
  • 3 days Chinese Oil Ships Found Violating UN Sanctions On North Korea
  • 3 days Oil Slick From Iranian Tanker Explosion Is Now The Size Of Paris
  • 4 days Nigeria Approves Petroleum Industry Bill After 17 Long Years
  • 4 days Venezuelan Output Drops To 28-Year Low In 2017
  • 4 days OPEC Revises Up Non-OPEC Production Estimates For 2018
  • 4 days Iraq Ready To Sign Deal With BP For Kirkuk Fields
  • 4 days Kinder Morgan Delays Trans Mountain Launch Again
  • 4 days Shell Inks Another Solar Deal
  • 5 days API Reports Seventh Large Crude Draw In Seven Weeks
  • 5 days Maduro’s Advisors Recommend Selling Petro At Steep 60% Discount
  • 5 days EIA: Shale Oil Output To Rise By 1.8 Million Bpd Through Q1 2019
  • 5 days IEA: Don’t Expect Much Oil From Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Before 2030
  • 5 days Minister Says Norway Must Prepare For Arctic Oil Race With Russia
  • 5 days Eight Years Late—UK Hinkley Point C To Be In Service By 2025
  • 5 days Sunk Iranian Oil Tanker Leave Behind Two Slicks
  • 5 days Saudi Arabia Shuns UBS, BofA As Aramco IPO Coordinators
  • 5 days WCS-WTI Spread Narrows As Exports-By-Rail Pick Up
  • 5 days Norway Grants Record 75 New Offshore Exploration Leases
  • 6 days China’s Growing Appetite For Renewables
  • 6 days Chevron To Resume Drilling In Kurdistan
  • 6 days India Boosts Oil, Gas Resource Estimate Ahead Of Bidding Round
  • 6 days India’s Reliance Boosts Export Refinery Capacity By 30%
  • 6 days Nigeria Among Worst Performers In Electricity Supply
  • 6 days ELN Attacks Another Colombian Pipeline As Ceasefire Ceases
  • 6 days Shell Buys 43.8% Stake In Silicon Ranch Solar
  • 7 days Saudis To Award Nuclear Power Contracts In December
  • 7 days Shell Approves Its First North Sea Oil Project In Six Years
  • 7 days China Unlikely To Maintain Record Oil Product Exports
  • 7 days Australia Solar Power Additions Hit Record In 2017
  • 7 days Morocco Prepares $4.6B Gas Project Tender
  • 7 days Iranian Oil Tanker Sinks After Second Explosion
  • 9 days Russia To Discuss Possible Exit From OPEC Deal
  • 10 days Iranian Oil Tanker Drifts Into Japanese Waters As Fires Rage On
Alt Text

Sweden Burns H&M Clothes As Fuel

A power plant in Stockholm…

Alt Text

Oil Refiners And Farmers Battle Over Biofuels

Trump has agreed to meet…

Alt Text

Bioplastics Threaten Big Oil

Global oil demand is set…

Brian Westenhaus

Brian Westenhaus

Brian is the editor of the popular energy technology site New Energy and Fuel. The site’s mission is to inform, stimulate, amuse and abuse the…

More Info

Turning Fruit Trees into Biofuel

Turning Fruit Trees into Biofuel

Fast growing trees, especially the poplars are being studied as they produce a large body of biomass per area.  Poplars and willows are leading candidates as biofuel crops that are expected to produce cellulosic ethanol and higher energy content fuels when the sugars can be efficiently extracted.

We non-tree experts are going to be surprised that peaches, apples, strawberries, cherries, and almonds, and many other plants including the beautiful and romantic rose are part of the rosid superfamily.  That means they share a large part of their genetic codes.

Scientists have turned to our long-domesticated fruit trees for the clues in researching the physiology and genetics of the rosid superfamily of trees.

Jeremy Schmutz, head of the Plant Program at the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI) said, “The close relationship between peach and poplar trees is evident from their DNA sequence.”

Related article: Ethanol Mandate: Jumping the Gun in a Big Way

For the March 24th edition of Nature Genetics, Schmutz and several colleagues who are part of the International Peach Genome Initiative (IPGI) published the 265-million base genome of the Lovell variety of Prunus persica.

Lovell peach tree
This Lovell peach tree at Clemson University provided the DNA used to determine the peach genome. Image Credit: Clemson University.

The paper authors said, “Using comparative genomics approaches, characterization of the peach sequence can be exploited not only for the improvement and sustainability of peach and other important tree species, but also to enhance our understanding of the basic biology of trees.”

The team compared 141 peach gene families to those of six other fully sequenced diverse plant species to unravel unique metabolic pathways.  They have learned for instance, what metabolic pathways lead to lignin biosynthesis – the molecular “glue” that holds the plant cells together – and is a key barrier to deconstructing biomass into fuels.

For bioenergy researchers, the size of the peach genome makes it ideal to serve as a plant model for studying genes found in related genomes, such as the poplar, and develop methods for improving plant biomass yield for biofuels.

Daniel Rokhsar, DOE JGI Eukaryotic Program head under whose leadership sequencing of the peach genome began back in 2007 takes us deeper into understanding with, “One gene we’re interested in is the so-called “evergreen” locus in peaches, which extends the growing season. In theory, it could be manipulated in poplar to increase the accumulation of biomass.”

It may not take long; the poplar is one of the DOE JGI’s Plant Flagship Genomes, making progress with poplar a first order of business.

Related article: Cooking Oil Gets KLM Across the Atlantic

It has seemed to be slow going.  This paper’s publication comes three years after the International Peach Genome Consortium publicly released the draft assembly of the annotated peach genome on the DOE JGI Plant portal Phytozome.net and on other websites. The decision to sequence the peach genome was first announced during the 2007 Plant and Animal Genome XI Conference.

However the project goes, the long list of rosid superfamily plants is getting a huge boost of genetic information in making more productive the much loved and very important to our health tree fruits. Whether it’s for fuel for our tools or fuel for our bodies the rosid superfamly is at the start of an improvement in productivity.

Its worth mentioning that backing came from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science and led by researchers at the DOE JGI, The HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, Clemson University, North Carolina State University, and Washington State University.  That’s peach and apple country.

Additional support was contributed by U.S. Department of Agriculture and by the Energy Biosciences Institute, of the University of California, Berkeley, who supported senior author Therese Mitros. The Italian government also supported this international effort, including the work of first author Ignazio Verde of the Fruit Tree Research Centre/Agricultural Research Council in Rome, Italy.

The scope of participants includes contributions also made from research institutes in Chile, Spain, and France.  It’s definitely been an international effort.

Whatever the future holds, the genome release is going to have a powerful impact on producing important fruit foods and for fuel production.  Its welcome news and a pleasure to see such a widespread participation and hopefully an even further spread out benefit to people.

By. Brian Westenhaus

Original source: Fruit Trees For Fuel




Back to homepage


Leave a comment

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News